Dozens die in CAR mas­sacre

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion/worldwide -

REBELS have killed dozens of vil­lagers close to a town in the cen­tre of the Cen­tral African Repub­lic (CAR), ac­cord­ing to a pres­i­den­tial spokesman.

The in­ci­dent marks the worst blood­shed in re­cent months in a coun­try try­ing to draw a line un­der years of re­li­gious vi­o­lence and po­lit­i­cal tur­moil.

Al­bert Mokpeme said the killings took place in the vil­lage of Ndomete, not far from the town of Ka­gaBan­doro lo­cated in the cen­tre of the coun­try, about 350km north of the cap­i­tal Ban­gui. He blamed fight­ers from the for­mer Seleka rebel coali­tion.

“There were 26 vic­tims. The Seleka [rebels] went door to door . . . The vil­lage chief was among the vic­tims,” said Al­bert Mokpeme said. “It was a mas­sacre.”

Vi­o­lence pit­ting the mainly Mus­lim Seleka fight­ers against ri­val Chris­tian anti-Balaka mem­bers started on Fri­day in Ndomete, be­fore spread­ing to Kaga-Ban­doro.

CAR’s UN peace­keep­ing mis­sion, MI­NUSCA, dis­patched troops to the area and sep­a­rated the two groups. MI­NUSCA said in a state­ment that it was re­in­forc­ing its po­si­tions in and around Kaga-Ban­doro and step­ping up pa­trols in an ef­fort to pro­tect civil­ians and pre­vent fur­ther vi­o­lence, ac­cord­ing to the Reuters news agency. The mis­sion de­clined to give a death toll.

“MI­NUSCA re­grets the loss of hu­man life and the wounded that were recorded and also de­nounces at­tacks against the hu­man­i­tar­ian com­mu­nity and United Na­tions per­son­nel,” it said, with­out elab­o­rat­ing — fur­ther.

CAR, which holds re­serves of ura­nium, gold and di­a­monds, suf­fered the big­gest cri­sis in its half-cen­tury of in­de­pen­dence in early 2013 when Seleka top­pled Fran­cois Boz­ize, the pres­i­dent at the time.

Chris­tian fight­ers re­sponded by at­tack­ing Mus­lims. A fifth of the pop­u­la­tion fled their homes to es­cape the vi­o­lence, leav­ing the im­pov­er­ished na­tion even more di­vided along eth­nic and re­li­gious lines.

For­mer prime min­is­ter Faustin-Ar­change Touadera won a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in Fe­bru­ary that was meant to help the coun­try emerge from its bloody past. How­ever, rebels and fight­ers still stalk much of the coun­try out­side the cap­i­tal. — Al Jazeera

Po­lice comb­ing the area around the scene of an ex­plo­sion found a pres­sure cooker nearby con­nected to a cell­phone EPA

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.